By the SMU Social Media Team
Not merely a jobseeker’s best friend, LinkedIn is the platform to see and be seen in the professional network. Whether you’re on Linkedin to build contacts and network for partnership opportunities, or simply keeping a lookout for career possibilities, there are some unwritten rules that need to be observed. Don’t miss out on precious opportunities or mar your professional reputation because of these 10 common LinkedIn faux pas:
1. Attempting to connect with a generic message
Avoid using the standard connection request. Chances are that your message will go straight from inbox to ignored. The lack of sincerity can be off-putting, plus you wouldn’t make much of an impression either. Instead of taking the easy way out, personalise your message and tailor it to the recipient. Make a short introduction that will stand out amidst the recipient’s many generic requests.
2. Oversharing all the time
Don’t commit the cardinal sin of LinkedIn. There’s a fine line between updating your network about your professional accomplishments and progress, and constantly spamming contacts with pointless status updates and irrelevant articles. Be discerning and considerate when it comes to posting messages and sharing articles.
3. Contacting strangers about job opportunities
Just as you wouldn’t walk up to random people on the street to ask for a job or dig for information about the company they’re with, you shouldn’t be harassing people for job opportunities just because they work for the company you’re interested in. Remember, they’re not obligated to pass on your resume to their HR and most definitely not compelled to vouch for your capabilities.
4. Asking for endorsements
Refrain from asking acquaintances who have not worked closely with you on a professional basis for endorsements. Besides being annoying and possibly reeking of desperation, you’re also putting them in a position where they may feel compelled to endorse you out of politeness—which could leave a bad taste in their mouths. It doesn’t reflect well on you and could suggest that none of your endorsements are genuinely earned.
5. Using LinkedIn as a selling platform
While the group you joined may be called Marketing or Sales, don’t take it literally as an opportunity to sell your wares. LinkedIn is a platform to connect with people and engage in meaningful discussions. Your attempts to blatantly market your own agenda will not be taken too kindly.
6. Sending unsolicited promotional messages
Just because your request to be added as a contact was approved, doesn’t mean that you can or should immediately segue into selling your services or introducing your products. It’s a huge turnoff and just points to a lack of tact and decorum on your part.
7. Using inappropriate language
While people tend to be more casual on social media, always remember that LinkedIn is a professional platform. Mind your p’s and q’s, and watch your language as you never know when your contact could become your next boss or the bridge to your next job!
8. Using inappropriate pictures
We all have that one contact on LinkedIn who has no qualms about using their latest beach holiday pictures—replete with giant shades and mimosas—as their profile pics. There’s a time and place for everything. While the photo may be perfectly fine on Facebook or Twitter, the same can’t be said for LinkedIn. Yes, that also means no selfies or revealing outfits. Use a professionally taken shot that you can use on your resume as well.
9. Posting content of a sensitive nature
Steer clear of sensitive topics or controversial issues such as politics and religion. You may unintentionally offend a contact by posting articles or making comments on a topic that he or she feels strongly about. Keep it safe by not delving into issues that aren’t business-related.
10. Not responding to messages
It may not be your intent to ignore your contact but being unresponsive could cost you dearly. Besides appearing downright rude, every missed connection is a missed chance. You don’t want to lose a job opportunity just because you didn’t check your inbox so make a conscientious effort to check your LinkedIn account on a daily basis.